Korean Master and 12 Features in Hong Kong

One of Korean cinema's early masters and one of the most important directors of the 60s and 70s, Yu Hyun-mok, 84, will receive a retrospective at the 33rd Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). The event, which opens March 22, will feature four of the director's finest films under the title 'The Realist Dao of Yu Hyun-mok'.

Included are Yu's first masterpiece, "The Aimless Bullet" (1961), voted by Korean critics as the best Korean film of all time; the moving and sensuous "Daughters of the Kim Pharmacy" (1963), based on a classic Korean novel; the cynical, modernist color gem "The Guests on the Last Train" (1967) and the tense, cold war microcosm, "Rainy Days" (1979).

Contemporary Korean films playing at the fest number eight this year. Indie favorite, "Daytime Drinking", was selected to compete in HKIFF's Asia Digital Competition section. The low budget debut feature by Noh Young-seok has drawn notice after winning at the Jeonju Int'l Film Fest and receiving a North American release recently.

Kim Jee-woon's oriental western "The Good, the Bad, the Weird", starring three of Korea's top stars (Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-sung) will screen in the Gala Vision section. Debut director Jang Hoon's "Rough Cut" will get under audiences' skin in the Midnight Heat program.

HKIFF's Indie Power section will feature Korean-American director Kim So-yong's award-winning second feature "Treeless Mountain", along with the sophomore effort "Land of Scarecrows" by Noh Kyeong-tae and the HD feature debut "Members of the Funeral" by Baek Seung-bin and Festival favorite "My Dear Enemy" by Lee Yoon-ki will be presented in the Global Vision section. It stars Cannes winner Jeon Do-yeon as a woman trying to collect a debt from a slippery ex-boyfriend (Ha Jung-woo). Finally, Min Gyoo-dong's third feature "Antique", a cake-shop comedy centering on four handsome men will play in the Platform I See It My Way section. The festival runs until April 13.

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)